Saturday, July 7, 2007

A Palin Vice-Presidency in Action

What might a Sarah Palin vice-presidency be like?

I don’t look at her as being a passive V-P. I see her as a strong advocate – privately and publicly – for her values, especially those related to husbands, wives, and children. She should never allow her to be poll-driven or (crassly) politics-driven. She should strongly affirm her beliefs on what is best for America.

Is it okay for the President and the Vice-President to disagree on some issues? Of course. Vice-President Cheney and President Bush disagree on whether there should be a constitutional amendment affirming traditional marriage. Cheney believes (as I do) that it should be a state issue.

The best way an elected official can affirm marriage is through his or her own behavior – especially through their own marital fidelity and love for children. In this regard, Sarah Palin gets an A-plus. She serves as a role model for her own children (one boy, three girls) and for all young people in America.

As Governor, Sarah demonstrates real fiscal responsibility. On the site you’ll read how she recently used the line-item veto to squash hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed spending. Invariably, her reasons for the vetoes were that a proposal was “not a state issue.”

When an elected official vetoes ANYTHING, there is a political cost. Someone – even if not the state as a whole – will benefit from the expenditure. However, the failure to use the veto is what leads to something like “The Bridge to Nowhere.” Basically, it takes money out of someone’s pocket to put it another person’s.

This is a point that Republicans have failed to make effectively. There are pros and cons connected with any governmental outlay, and elected officials have to point that out clearly and compellingly.

Sarah is especially effective communicator, outlining her views in language that ordinary people can understand. That reflects her innate skills as well as her journalism background. Alaska people, like Americans generally, are suspicious of classic political rhetoric (the kind favored by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama). They’re starved for someone who “talks sense,” and that's Sarah’s forte.

I’ve been amused by people who fault Sarah for not speaking on various “national issues,” such as Iraq and illegal immigration. Apparently, her view is that these are “not state issues.” The people of Alaska didn’t elect her for her opinions, but rather for her ability to get things done.

The people who yearn for Sarah’s opinions on volatile issues apparently want to stereotype her –to pigeonhole her as “conservative” or “liberal” or somewhere in-between. My advice to Sarah would be to avoid making standard statements on controversial issues. She has a golden opportunity, when the time comes, to advance the national debate by presenting fresh perspectives.

The main “knock” on Sarah is that she “lacks experience.” In fact, her experience in running a state compares favorably with people – Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards come quickly to mind – who have no such experience. She has important experience on critical issues, especially energy, the environment, and fiscal restraint, all of them essential considerations for America.

Hopefully, she can afford the polarizing “issue debates” that have paralyzed Washington, DC. When Democrats and Republicans debate in Washington these days, we’re reminded less of the Lincoln-Douglas exchange than the food fights in “Animal House.”

No, in terms of experience, Sarah’s not a Washington Insider. In fact, that’s one of her most appealing characteristics.

On a personal level, she has great experience in being a wife and a mother. Issues like education and balancing a profession and motherhood aren’t mere abstractions to her. They’re the essence of her life.

The future of our country depends on getting people like Sarah involved at the national level. The more we look at her experience and character, the better she seems.


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